Photonic computing firm raises €3.7M to accelerate adoption of programmable photonic chips

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Photonic chips offer lower latency, lower power consumption and higher bandwidth than electronic chips. (Image: iPronics)

Photonic computing firm iPronics has raised €3.7M in investment to help bring its general-purpose, software-reconfigurable photonic processor to market.

The firm will also use the capital to expand its engineering team and product development.

The investment was made primarily by Amadeus Capital Partners, with participation from Caixa Capital Risc.

Emerging technology trends in autonomous vehicles and lidar, 5G signal processing, deep learning and AI, cyber security, DNA sequencing, and drug discovery require much faster, more flexible, power-efficient computation.

Although advanced electronic chips (e.g. GPUs, TPUs or FPGAs) are continually advancing in capability, according to iPronics they cannot keep up with increasing performance requirements, leading to today’s hardware forming a bottleneck. 

Computational photonics (i.e. photonic chips) represents an ideal solution due to it providing lower latency, lower power consumption (photons/light consume less energy than electrons), higher bandwidth, and higher density.

More on this story: Interview with iPronics co-founders Jose Capmany and Daniel Perez-Lopez

iPronics has therefore introduced a new generation of photonic circuits where common hardware can be programmed using software for a wide variety of applications, through a mesh of on-chip waveguides and tunable beam couplers.

According to the firm, the reconfigurability of the ‘Field Programmable Photonic Gate Array (FPPGA)’ chip unlocks new commercial applications by delivering faster time to market with lower total cost and risk mitigation while delivering on the promises of photonic processing. It also democratises the adoption of photonic technology by enabling its use by software engineers without expertise in hardware or photonics.

The firm – a spinoff of the Technical University of Valencia – has developed seven patents on the technology and has published at least four seminal papers in the journal Nature

Related news: World's first polarisation-based photonic processor developed

'We know that photonic computing is the answer to many of the bottlenecks of new killer applications, but designing and building one photonic chip for each of those applications is not practical,' said Professor Jose Capmany, co-founder of iPronics and Fellow of the IEEE and Optical Society of America. 'Reconfigurability of photonic chips with software is the answer.'

Amelia Armour, partner at Amadeus Capital Partners, added: 'As long term investors in disruptive chip design technology, we are excited to back the team that pioneered the concept of programmable photonics and first demonstrated it in the lab. We look forward to helping the team to bring the chip to market at scale’.

Previous strategic angel investors include successful tech executives and entrepreneurs from Google, Facebook, Carto, Freshly, Endeavor, Oracle, Deloitte, Ferrovial, and Clicars among others. The company had previously received €1M in funding from co-founder and tech entrepreneur Inaki Berenguer.

Jose Capmany (left) is co-founder and COO of iPronics, Daniel Perez-Lopez (right) is co-founder and CTO of iPronics.

05 August 2022

Jose Capmany (left) is co-founder and COO of iPronics, Daniel Perez-Lopez (right) is co-founder and CTO of iPronics.

05 August 2022

Here two electronic driver chips are connected face down to a silicon photonics chip.The horseshoe-shaped device is an optical modulator, which can be used as part of a programmable circuit. (Image: Optoelectronics Research Centre)

28 July 2022

The new processor offers computing density several orders higher than that of conventional electronic chips. (Image: University of Oxford/June Sang Lee)

15 June 2022

Closeup of a solid-state PIC scanner (Scantinel Photonics)

24 November 2022